PPTA recommends each member-teacher has a written studio policy for the following reasons:
- Professionalism – Image
- Professional ethics
- Basis of communication (shows expectations)
- Prevention of problems
PPTA recommends that each member-teacher includes the following points in his/her written studio policy. It is recommended that the teacher write a stricter policy than what, in fact, may be followed:
*[Other options or points to consider are listed in brackets in italics]
- Financial Responsibility
- Tuition is payable in advance, in [at least] monthly installments.
*[Quarterly, semester or yearly tuition can be charged for easier bookkeeping and so that students/parents don't interpret the billing as "per lesson".]
- Billing should be written. Payment terms should be stated on the bill, including a policy stating NO refunds, deductions, or credits.
*[If it is mailed, it becomes a legal document. If it is not mailed, it saves postage.]
- Other fees to consider are late fees, returned check fees, collection fees, and charges for music, events, etc.
- Students are expected to attend all lessons.
*[There will be no deductions for lessons missed by the student.]
- Regarding missed lessons, it is recommended that one of the following policies be adopted (listed from most strict to most lenient):
- no make-ups, no swaps.
- swap list with no make-ups.
- swap list with make-ups for lessons missed due to illness, death in the family.
- make-ups at the discretion of the teacher.
*[Lessons may be made up in the form of a group lesson.]
- If a student misses a group lesson, no make-up will be given.
- A policy for terminating lessons is advised.
- Special Events
- Studio recitals are part of the curriculum.
*[Exceptions to recitals can be made in certain circumstances.]
- Other options: Federation, Evaluations, PPTA recitals, competitions, field trips.
- Family/Student Responsibilities
- Positive parental involvement is essential.
- Daily practice is necessary for progress.
* [The teacher should establish specific practice goals for the student and/or given recommended minimum daily practice times:
1st & 2nd year - 30 minutes (may be divided)
3rd & 4th year - 40 minutes
5th & 6th year - 50-60 minutes
7th year & up - 1-3 hours]
- The instrument should be kept in tune and in good repair. If an electronic keyboard is used, it should have full-sized keys.
- It is recommended the proper bench height and distance from the instrument be determined by the student’s physical size.
- There should be no distractions (phone, TV, other people playing in room, etc.)
- When playing with curved fingers, the nails should not click.
- Nails should be trimmed prior to PRACTICE.
- Discussions concerning student progress, schedule changes, billing questions, etc. should be initiated at the beginning of the lesson or at a mutually agreed upon time.
- Student promptness is the responsibility of the student/parent; time lost will not be made up.
- Special Needs
- The teacher should be advised of any learning disabilities or other special physical or emotional needs of the student or family.
- Miscellaneous: policy on parents or other visitors at lessons; waiting room policies (smoking, etc.); policy on food, gum, dress; phone communication.
*Each member-teacher’s written studio policy should include a statement such as:
“This policy is within the guidelines of the recommended studio policy of Pittsburgh Piano Teachers Association.”
*Teachers have occasionally asked for background checks and clearances. Below, you will find downloads for PA Child Abuse History Clearance and for a PA State Police Criminal Record Check. These are for your convenience and do not represent any suggested PPTA policy.
Child Abuse History Clearance Form
PA Criminal file Check
Other points to consider when setting up or reviewing your business plan:
- Written studio philosophy
- Legal and accounting advice
- Insurance and liability
- How to determine the rate for lessons
- How to switch to a more “strict” policy
- A waiting room is recommended
- New and Transfer Students:
- It is recommended that, prior to study, students and/or parents be interviewed either by phone or in person, to determine student interest, type and condition of instrument used, to review teacher’s studio policy, etc.
- An information form, filled out by the student/parent, may be desired.
- It is recommended for transfer students, the teacher first filter out the type of transer it is:
- another teacher is recommending transferring the student to the teacher
- the student has moved from out of town
- the teacher receives a direct call from the student
- Contact with the pervious teacher is recommended if the student is currently studying